I took Quiz, my young border collie, to the vets this afternoon for his annual check up and booster. It was a new vet, a young woman from one of the East European countries. She was very polite, spoke better English than most of my American friends and obviously knew her stuff. However, she told me that she had only been in the UK for two weeks.

Quiz has been scratching himself a lot recently. I had already ruled out fleas or the like and I was not surprised when the vet corroborated my chief suspicion that it was an allergic reaction to a recent change of meat in his diet from chicken to game. I asked the vet what meat she recommended I tried him on.

"Horse," she immediately replied.

With the help of the receptionist I explained the thing English people had about eating horse meat which was all completely new to her. It is amazing the huge differences in cultural norms that exist between even quite close neighbours and even in this supposedly international world.

Mind you, having said that, I used to work in a livery stables and on a farm when I was younger and when a horse needed to be "put out of its misery" a man from the local hunt kennels would come round, shoot the horse in the head on the spot and then cart the body off to be fed to the hounds.

So there are not only differences in cultures between nations and ethnic groups, there are also differences in culture within societies. Many of these differences are hidden from the general population probably on the basis that what they don't know won't make them go all naive and soppy.



  1. May I ask what the “thing” is that English people have about eating horse meat?

    Americans aren’t ones for eating it either, but it does turn up in our commercially prepared dog foods.

    • Well, I don’t particularly like horses (I’ve worked with them and found them to be deliberately evil critters). But Mrs MP, who used to own them, says that it is to do with not eating your friends. She says it’s the same as with dogs. It’s sort of disloyal to eat a creature whose species is so loyal to humans.

    • Ah. I see. Well, my experiences of being around horses – I worked for/first learned to ride in an Arabian show stable, then a year later worked for an Appaloosa & Quarter Horse stable – were enormously positive. And I admit that from my first riding lesson, I felt completely at home in the saddle. But, yeah, you don’t eat your friends. Definitely not cool.